Toenail fungus is a highly contagious infection. This unsightly and sometimes painful condition can easily be passed from one person to another unless the proper precautions are taken. This is especially true among family members that share bathrooms. It can also be passed between friends or strangers at gyms or at public showers near the community swimming pool. Even the local water park can be a source of toenail fungus. In fact, any place that harbors moisture can harbor the bacteria that causes fungus to grow on the toenails.
It is important to recognize the symptoms of toenail fungus so that treatment can begin as early as possible. Generally the nails turn yellow and thick. They appear bumpy or even crusty. Sometimes the area around the nail can become inflamed and tender. Toenail fungus can be difficult to treat, often requiring oral as well as topical medications. This can cost time, money, and much frustration in addition to the discomfort of the condition.
So how does one avoid picking up or spreading a toenail fungus? The simple answer is to keep your feet clean and away from places where you could encounter or leave the bacteria that cause toenail fungi. Stay away from public swimming pools. Do not go barefoot in the shower area at the gym. If you must go to places like those, make sure you wear shower shoes and then wash and dry your feet thoroughly afterward. When you get home, treat yourself to a foot soak in Epsom salts or a mixture of apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil in a twenty-minute foot bath or being proactive and using a tea tree oil product like zetaclear can help.
When you are infected, stay away from the nail salon to avoid passing on the condition to others. If someone else in your family comes down with a toenail fungus, take extra care in the family bathroom. Keep it clean and disinfected—that’s the tub and the floor, especially. Do not share towels. Around the rest of the house, everyone should wear sandals to avoid contact with the bacteria that may be tracked on the floor. Mop the floor on a regular basis.
There are some other simple things that you can do to avoid passing on or picking up a toe fungus. Never share shoes with anyone—not even a close family member. You wouldn’t share your toothbrush or hair brush. Change your socks and shoes on a frequent basis—and don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day. Spray your shoes with a disinfecting spray and then let them air out so that they will not harbor the bacteria that can cause toenail fungus. Wash your socks in hot water, preferably with bleach. Towels should be washed the same way.
Finally, make sure you dry your feet completely after you take a shower or bath, or after you go swimming. Remember: dry and light are the keys to keeping your feet free of this unsightly and highly contagious fungus. Cleanliness and care will ensure that you and your family are protected from this condition.
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